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Anti-Discrimination Policy

(All-University Policy) (Policy #02-03-01) (Applicable to University employees as well as students.)


Michigan State University’s scholarly community-building efforts occur within the context of general societal expectations, as embodied in the law. The University, consistent with its policies and governing law, promotes institutional diversity and pluralism through mechanisms such as affirmative action, within an over-arching strategy promoting equitable access to opportunity. The University’s commitment to nondiscrimination is the foundation for such efforts.

This policy states expectations for institutional and individual conduct. It applies to all University community members, including faculty, staff, students, registered student organizations, student governing bodies, and the University’s administrative units, and to the University’s contractors in the execution of their University contracts or engagements1, with respect to the following:

  1. All educational, employment, cultural, and social activities occurring on the University campus;
  2. University-sponsored programs occurring off-campus, including but not limited to cooperative extension, intercollegiate athletics, lifelong education, and any regularly scheduled classes;
  3. University housing; and
  4. Programs and activities sponsored by student governing bodies, including their constituent groups, and by registered student organizations.


Unlawful acts of discrimination or harassment are prohibited. In addition, the University community holds itself to certain standards of conduct more stringent than those mandated by law. Thus, even if not illegal, acts are prohibited under this policy if they2:

  1. Discriminate against any University community member(s) through inappropriate limitation3 of employment opportunity4, access to University residential facilities, or participation in educational, athletic, social, cultural, or other University activities on the basis of age, color, gender, gender identity5, disability status, height, marital status, national origin, political persuasion, race, religion, sexual orientation, veteran status, or weight; or
  2. Harass any University community member(s) on the basis of age, color, gender, gender identity, disability status, height, marital status, national origin, political persuasion, race, religion, sexual orientation, veteran status, or weight. These prohibitions are not intended to abridge University community members’ rights of free expression or other civil rights.


Mediation of claims and disputes, through consultation provided by offices serving the University, is encouraged6. Complaints under this policy may be submitted for nondisciplinary adjudication according to the provisions of the “Procedures of the Anti-Discrimination Judicial Board.” Upon its review, the ADJB may recommend that appropriate disciplinary proceedings be initiated, if such has not already occurred. Disciplinary proceedings are governed by the documents listed in Appendix A.

Excepting the President and the General Counsel, any University community member may be named in a complaint.

1 This policy does not apply to the conduct of a contractor’s internal affairs, nor does it apply to the conduct of contractual engagements to which the University is not a party.

2 The Anti-Discrimination Policy User’s Manual, University ordinances, written regulations and policies, and published ADJB decisions approved by the President, provide guidance on the conduct prohibited by Article II of this Policy.

3 Limitations are inappropriate if they are not directly related to a legitimate University purpose. The Anti-Discrimination Policy User’s Manual provides additional guidance on inappropriate limitation as defined by this policy.

4 For purpose of this policy, “employment opportunity” is defined as job access and placement, retention, promotion, professional development and salary.

5 For the purposes of this Policy, the reference to “gender identity” shall be interpreted to include protection against gender stereotyping based on a person’s gender expression. In other words, gender stereotyping is impermissible discrimination or harassment based on a failure to conform to stereotypical gender norms.

6 Consultation with one or more of the following may be useful: the chairperson, director, or dean of the relevant unit; supervisory support personnel; the Women’s Resource Center; the Ombudsman; the Office of Cultural and Academic Transitions; Student Life or Residence Halls staff; Sexual Assault Crisis & Safety Education; faculty or staff academic advisors; the MSU Counseling Center; and the Faculty Grievance Official.


The contracts, policy documents, and procedures listed below provide avenues for the consideration of disciplinary complaints or actions against the various members of the Michigan State University community.

“Academic Freedom for Students at Michigan State University”
“Bylaws of the Medical Staff, Colleges of Human and Osteopathic Medicine: Michigan State University”
“MSU Extension Service Continuing Employment Policy and Dismissal Hearing Procedure”
“Dismissal of Tenured Faculty for Cause”
“Faculty Grievance Procedure”
“General Grievance Procedure for Non-Unionized Employees”
“Graduate Student Rights and Responsibilities”
“Librarian Personnel Handbook of Policies, Procedures, and Practices: Michigan State University”
“Medical Student Rights and Responsibilities”
Michigan State University collective bargaining agreements
Personnel Policies and Procedures Manual
Student Handbook and Resource Guide

Source: Spartan Life – MSU Student Handbook and Resource Guide (, December 9, 2009

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